The test is positive. You’re pregnant, and now it’s time to make the first decisions of your pregnancy. You have to decide:
- Who to tell about your pregnancy.
- When to announce it.
- How to announce it.
Your individual circumstances will dictate the answers to all three questions.
Wondering when to announce pregnancy? There is some essential information that can help you choose.
- Many people wait until the end of the first trimester (12 weeks) to announce pregnancy due to a higher risk of miscarriage during this period.
- The risk of miscarriage decreases significantly after the eighth week of pregnancy.
- Considerations for announcing pregnancy include the baby’s health, impact on employment, other people’s opinions, and advice.
- Announcing pregnancy at work should be done sooner if there are safety implications or if planning to return after maternity leave.
What Is The 12-Week Pregnancy Rule?
While there are no hard and fast rules about when you should tell people you’re pregnant, many people decide to wait until the end of the first trimester.
Why is this?
Doctors estimate that somewhere between 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. The majority of miscarriages, approximately 80 percent, happen in the first 12 to 13 weeks of pregnancy (1).
Having to repeat the news of your miscarriage to all of the people you have told about your pregnancy can be extremely painful. Therefore, many women choose to wait until the greatest risk of miscarriage has passed before sharing the news of their pregnancy with others.
The Risk Of Miscarriage
As we said, the general statistics of miscarriage are that 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. However, the risks are not the same for everyone and do not remain constant throughout the first 12 weeks.
If we exclude other risk factors such as maternal age or health risks, the risk of miscarriage over the course of the first trimester looks like this (2):
- 30 percent at three weeks.
- 29 percent at four weeks.
- 19 to 21 percent at five weeks.
- 13.5 percent at six weeks.
- 5 to 8.7 percent at seven weeks.
- 5 to 5.2 percent at eight weeks.
- 3.5 percent at nine weeks.
- 2.5 percent at ten weeks.
- 2.1 percent at eleven weeks.
- 1.7 percent at twelve weeks.
According to the numbers, once you reach the eighth week of pregnancy the risk of miscarriage has dropped dramatically. It continues to drop until you reach the end of the first trimester.
For this reason, many women decide to share their pregnancy with close family at the eight-week mark and tell others after they pass 12 weeks.
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
According to the American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists, 1 percent of women will suffer from recurrent pregnancy loss (3). This is defined as two or more miscarriages. For 50 to 70 percent of women, no cause for recurrent pregnancy loss is ever found.
However, approximately 65 percent of women who suffer recurrent pregnancy loss will go on to have a successful pregnancy.
If you have suffered from recurrent pregnancy loss, you may choose to wait until after the end of the first trimester, or even later, to announce your pregnancy. Your exact timing may depend on the:
- The reason, if any, for your pregnancy loss.
- Treatment for any medical condition thought, in your case, to cause pregnancy loss.
- Your personal likelihood of miscarriage or stillbirth for the remainder of your pregnancy.
After my first miscarriage, we waited until after 12 weeks to announce my next pregnancy. My second miscarriage was at 14 weeks. Consequently, we decided to wait until the 18-week ultrasound before telling anyone about my next pregnancy.
After my third miscarriage, at 18 weeks, when I was pregnant again later on, we shared the news only on a need-to-know basis until I was past the 34-week mark.
Reasons To Wait To Announce Your Pregnancy
While the risk of miscarriage is the primary reason why many people wait to announce their pregnancy, there are many others.
1. The Health Of The Baby
Some parents choose to wait until after the first prenatal visit to announce the pregnancy.
This is to ensure the baby is healthy before they share the news with everyone else. For some, it’s also because seeing the baby on the ultrasound and hearing the baby’s heartbeat makes the pregnancy more “real.”
Another consideration is that some forms of prenatal testing are not available until later in pregnancy (4). If you know or suspect that you would not continue with the pregnancy if one of the tests identified a problem, you should consider waiting until after these screening tests before announcing you are pregnant.
2. Impact On Employment
Yes, there are laws in place that protect us from discrimination due to pregnancy. However, it can still be a problem. Also, indirect or unintentional discrimination can occur, as can misplaced kindness.
Once you have told people at work you’re pregnant, they may give you tasks they consider less stressful. Alternatively, they may avoid giving you work or clients that will require your input after the baby is born.
3. Other People’s Opinions
If you have friends or relatives with traditional views, it can be prudent to wait to announce your pregnancy.
This is especially true if you have interests, pastimes, or hobbies that are not dangerous for a pregnant woman but may have been seen as so in the past.
Putting up with raised eyebrows and judgmental looks can get tiresome quite quickly.
4. Other People’s Advice
In a similar vein, well-meaning advice can be as exasperating as uninformed opinions. So, if you don’t want a certain someone advising you about absolutely everything, all day, every day, you may want to delay announcing your pregnancy.
Reasons To Announce Your Pregnancy Right Away
The primary reason why people choose to announce their pregnancy straight away is simple —
Excitement. It is understandable if you want to shout your big news from the rooftops. But there are other compelling reasons to quickly announce you are pregnant.
1. Safety At Work
Announce it to your boss right away if you have a job which involves:
- Dangerous chemicals.
- Lifting heavy weights.
- Exposure to other dangers.
If this applies to you, you should tell your employer as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Employers are legally obliged to extend benefits given to disabled workers to any pregnant staff member who has a doctor’s letter saying that they are temporarily disabled due to pregnancy (5).
2. Impacts Of Pregnancy Symptoms
If you find yourself exhausted by 3 p.m. or suffering from severe morning sickness you may not have a choice about when to tell people you are pregnant.
Colleagues at work, your boss, or other people who depend on you will soon notice your sudden lack of pep. Telling everyone as soon as possible will give everyone the chance to cut you some slack!
3. The Benefits Of Support
If you are nervous, scared, or unhappy about your pregnancy, sharing the news with a few close friends or family can provide you with the help and support you need.
Even if you are over the moon about being pregnant, having the support of others, and having someone with whom you can share your excitement can make those first few, worrying weeks fly by.
Telling People You Are Pregnant
Some people decide to share the news of their pregnancy with everyone, at more or less the same time. Others choose to tell different people at various times, according to their own unique circumstances.
Most often, people tell parents, close friends, and family first, followed by their employer and their wider social circle.
When To Announce Your Pregnancy To Your Parents
The decision over when to announce your pregnancy to your parents usually depends on your relationship with them, and how you believe they will respond to your big news.
Many moms will turn to their own mother first, sometimes even before their own partner. Other people will choose to wait until they absolutely have to share the news.
To help you decide, think about your needs and the response you are likely to get from your parents. If you believe your news will be met with a:
- Positive, supportive response: Announce your pregnancy to your parents straight away.
- Positive, but overwhelming or smothering response: Wait until the end of the first trimester.
- Negative, but ultimately supportive response: Bite the bullet and tell them about your pregnancy as soon as you feel ready, especially if you need the support.
- Negative and unsupportive response: Wait for as long as you can before announcing you are pregnant. You will not benefit in any way by sharing sooner rather than later.
When To Announce Your Pregnancy At Work
If your job has safety implications for your pregnancy, tell your employer right away. Do not put the health of you or your baby at risk by delaying.
For everyone else, you need to ask yourself: Will I be returning to my job after the baby is born?
If the answer is yes, tell your employer sooner rather than later. Preferably by the 14-week mark. This will give them plenty of time to make adjustments to your work schedule and arrange for maternity leave coverage of your job.
If the answer is no, there are no health and safety concerns, and morning sickness or exhaustion haven’t given the game away, announce your pregnancy at work when it suits you.
When To Announce Your Pregnancy On Facebook and Social Media
Only ever announce your pregnancy on Facebook and other social media when you are comfortable with the entire world knowing about it.
Once the cat is out of the bag, even if you only tell select friends and family on a private profile, the news has a way of traveling fast.
When To Announce Your Second Pregnancy
Second and subsequent pregnancies are often met with less excitement by the outside world. This is unfair as each and every pregnancy is a special, exciting event in its own right.
There are no hard and fast rules about announcing a second or subsequent pregnancy. I believe you should follow the same decision-making process as you did with your first.
Preparing Your Pregnancy Announcement
You may want to announce your pregnancy in different ways depending upon the person you are telling.
But no matter how you choose to share, you’ll do well to be ready with the answers to the most frequent questions:
- How far along are you?
- When’s the baby due?
- How are you feeling?
- Is it or do you want a boy or a girl?
- What will you do about work?
Parents, Close Family, and Friends
There are endless ideas and suggestions for cute and fun pregnancy announcement ideas. Some of the most popular include:
- Giving a gift-wrapped box containing a positive pregnancy test, an ultrasound image, or something similar.
- Grouping people together for a photo and saying “Smile, say your name here’s pregnant.”
- Posting a photo on social media, usually of a chalkboard, notice board, or something similar with details of the big news.
- Presenting a onesie with a cute slogan or a tee shirt with something like “I’m the big brother.”
Your workplace pregnancy announcement may have to be more formal. If at all possible, tell your direct supervisor in person and follow-up with a letter or email. This should detail when you plan to leave work, if you intend to return, and any adjustments to your work you may require.
Sharing Your Big News
So, when to tell people you’re pregnant? When and how to announce your pregnancy is a personal decision, with a variety of considerations.
No matter how or when you choose to tell people you’re pregnant, remember to take good care of yourself and your baby.